Abadi and Erdogan discuss Kurds issue

ISTANBUL: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi was in Ankara on Wednesday and met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as part of a tour of the region which will see him head to Iran next. The meeting takes place amid rising tensions over the independence referendum last month in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
Turkey was strongly opposed to the referendum, along with Iran, while Baghdad launched military operations against Kurdish forces.
Erdogan was once seen as a staunch ally of the autonomous Iraqi-Kurdish area, but recent events have seen him stepping back.
The Kurdistan Regional Government late on Tuesday offered to “freeze”the referendum results, offering an “immediate ceasefire” to open dialogue with Baghdad.
Al Abadi has not yet made clear his position.
However, Turkey’s European affairs minister, Omer Celik, indicated a freeze would not be enough to satisfy his government.
He demanded the results be fully “withdrawn,” according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.
Iraqi forces supported by pro-government militias last week took over the oil-rich and ethnically mixed province of Kirkuk and other areas which were controlled by Kurdish Peshmerga forces outside the autonomous region, amid instances of heavy clashes.
Al Abadi has been to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan in the past few days.
— dpa